This week in Christian history: English hymn writer dies, Christian women's group founder is born

Woman's Christian Temperance Union founder born – Sept. 28, 1839

Frances Willard
Frances Willard (1839-1898), an American teacher, suffragette, and feminist who co-founded the Woman's Christian Temperance Union |

This week marks the anniversary of when Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard, a noted feminist and co-founder of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, was born in Churchville, New York.

An educator who briefly served as president of the Evanston College for Ladies, Willard helped to found the WCTU in 1874, serving as its first corresponding secretary.

“Willard worked hard during these early years to broaden the WCTU’s reform movement to include such things as woman’s suffrage, woman’s rights, education reforms and labor reforms. She later became an anti-lynching advocate as well,” noted the Center for Women’s History and Leadership.

“The support for this broader view of the WCTU’s reform work became clear when Willard was elected President of the WCTU in 1879. Under Willard’s leadership the WCTU grew to be the largest organization of women in the nineteenth century.”  

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